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social sciences

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Gay Rights Movement, U. S.  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  

Perhaps vindicating those activists who have prioritized same-sex marriage as a movement priority, the historic decision by the California Supreme Court ruling unconstitutional laws that barred gay and lesbian couples from marriage also established unequivocally the right of homosexuals to be free of discrimination across the board, calling for "strict scrutiny" of any legislation that treated people differently on the basis of sexual orientation. However, even as the Court opened marriage to gay and lesbian couples, foes of equal marriage succeeded in placing on the ballot an amendment to the California constitution that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Significantly, the California Supreme Court, though basing its ruling in favor of equal marriage on the California state constitution, relied heavily on the most important federal ruling ever made in favor of glbtq rights: the 2003 decision of Texas v. Lawrence, which stunningly reversed the 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick. Boldly declaring that "Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today," the majority on the Court asserted that homosexuals are "entitled to respect for their private lives. . . . The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime."

Sponsor Message.

This decision promises to continue to yield results in the quest of glbtq individuals and families for fairness and equality under the law.

Undoubtedly, the debate over glbtq rights will continue nationally as part of the cultural wars in a sometimes bitterly divided country. Within the glbtq community discussions will also continue over the movement's future directions and most appropriate strategies.

Finally, the passing in recent years of so many movement pioneers should be acknowledged, people who worked for change at all levels, often for most of their lives, and sometimes simply by living openly as glbtq Americans. They have left an important legacy that needs to be built upon by the current and future generations.

Vicki L. Eaklor

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   Related Entries
  
social sciences >> Overview:  AIDS Activism

In the United States, glbtq people have played an integral and often leading role in AIDS activism, greatly influencing AIDS treatment and advocacy.

social sciences >> Overview:  AIDS Law

AIDS law comprises the legal principles contained in the body of statutes, regulations, administrative rulings, and judicial decisions that emerged in response to legal issues presented by the AIDS epidemic.

social sciences >> Overview:  Anti-discrimination Statutes and Ordinances

Anti-discrimination statutes and ordinances have made a real difference in the lives of millions of glbtq individuals.

social sciences >> Overview:  Bisexual Movements

Although bisexuals have played an important part in the glbt movement for equality, they often had to hide their bisexuality; more recently, however, the bisexual movement has been accepted as part of the larger glbt movement and bisexual organizations now flourish.

social sciences >> Overview:  Chicago

The vigorous Midwestern metropolis of Chicago has been a center of gay and lesbian community and organizing since the early part of the twentieth century.

social sciences >> Overview:  Civil Union

Vermont's Civil Union law conferred all the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of marriage on same-sex couples.

social sciences >> Overview:  Coming Out

"Coming out" is the revelation or acknowledgment that one is a member of a sexual minority, a process that is at once personal and social and often political.

social sciences >> Overview:  Domestic Partnerships

"Domestic partnership" is the generic term for a variety of forms of legal and institutional recognition of same-sex couples that fall short of same-sex marriage.

social sciences >> Overview:  Elected Officials

In the United States, glbtq candidates have achieved some significant successes at the ballot box in the last three decades, running for and winning local, state, and national elections.

social sciences >> Overview:  French Gay Liberation Movement

The French gay liberation movement was born during the early 1970s on the foundation of a courageous, if conservative, homophile movement and the thrust of a massive wave of social activism.

social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Left

The Gay Left refers to a cluster of positions on the political spectrum that has existed within the lesbian and gay rights movement at least since the Stonewall riots.

social sciences >> Overview:  Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes are crimes towards persons or groups motivated by the victim's race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

social sciences >> Overview:  Holidays and Observances

Throughout the year, the glbtq community unites in pride and in protest, in recognition of a rich heritage and in hope for the future.

social sciences >> Overview:  Homophile Movement, U. S.

The homophile movement of the United States refers to organizations and political strategies employed by homosexuals from the end of World War II to 1970.

social sciences >> Overview:  Identity Politics

Not limited to activity in the traditionally conceived political sphere, identity politics refers to activism, politics, theorizing, and other similar activities based on the shared experiences of members of a specific social group, often relying on shared experiences of oppression.

social sciences >> Overview:  Immigration Law

Those countries that allow the immigration of glbtq persons based on persecution in their home countries often raise difficulties or apply the existing laws inequitably, especially in the case of glbtq couples who apply for entry as domestic partners.

social sciences >> Overview:  Lesbian Feminism

The dominant ideology among politicized lesbians during the 1970s and 1980s, Lesbian Feminism was based on the premise that lesbianism and feminism were inextricably linked.

social sciences >> Overview:  Los Angeles

The glbtq history of Los Angeles, the U.S.'s second largest metropolis, is replete with cultural, social, and political firsts.

social sciences >> Overview:  Marches on Washington

Marches on Washington in support of the rights of glbtq people have been a significant part of the modern movement for equality.

social sciences >> Overview:  New Right

The New Right, which emerged during the last two decades of the twentieth century, combines evangelical Christian morality with a political agenda in opposition to glbtq equality.

social sciences >> Overview:  New York City

Off and on over two centuries, New York City has also reigned as the capital of homosexual, transgender, and queer life in America.

social sciences >> Overview:  Parades and Marches

Both parades and marches have served to render the glbtq community visible; whereas marches typically attempt to effect political change, parades and pride events affirm identity and community.

social sciences >> Overview:  Patriarchy

Patriarchy, literally "the rule of the fathers," is a social system in which men hold positions of power and women are oppressed and glbtq people are treated negatively.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

social sciences >> Overview:  San Francisco

San Francisco has enjoyed a reputation as a "gay mecca" since World War II.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sodomy Laws and Sodomy Law Reform

Sodomy laws, which provided the legal basis for police harassment of sexual minorities, were conclusively overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 2003, after more than half a century of efforts at reform.

social sciences >> Overview:  Teachers

Historically, glbtq teachers have faced all manner of social pressures, including open hostiliy and expectations that they hide their sexuality; now, however, teacher groups and individuals are working to improve the climate for glbtq teachers.

social sciences >> Overview:  Transgender Activism

Since the late nineteenth century, transgendered people have advocated legal and social reforms that would ameliorate the kinds of oppression and discrimination they suffer.

social sciences >> Overview:  Women's Liberation Movement

The Women's Liberation Movement, which flourished during the 1970s, constitutes the largest and most widely publicized social movement of women in history.

social sciences >> Overview:  Workplace Discrimination

Although work remains to be done, the expansion of protection from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation stands as one of the significant accomplishments of the American lesbian and gay civil rights movement.

social sciences >> ACLU LGBT & AIDS Project

For more than four decades, the ACLU has been at the forefront of litigation and education designed to secure glbtq rights on a variety of fronts.

social sciences >> ACT UP

Using bold images and confrontational tactics, ACT UP worked to promote awareness of AIDS and challenge the complacency of politicians and government officials in the early years of the epidemic.

social sciences >> Baldwin, Tammy

The first out lesbian elected to the United States Congress, Democratic legislator Tammy Baldwin has been a strong supporter of glbtq rights, but she is far from a one-issue politician.

social sciences >> Bowers v. Hardwick / Lawrence v. Texas

Two of the most significant Supreme Court decisions regarding constitutional liberty for glbtq people are Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) and Lawrence v. Texas (2003).

social sciences >> Bryant, Anita

Former beauty queen, popular singer, and orange juice pitchwoman, Anita Bryant became the poster-girl for homophobia in the late 1970s; her name continues to be a byword for bigotry.

arts >> DeGeneres, Ellen

No matter how great her contribution to the world of comedy, Ellen DeGeneres will probably be best remembered as the first lesbian to star as a lesbian on her own network television show.

social sciences >> Don't Ask, Don't Tell

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, in effect from 1993 until 2011, was a compromise intended to end discrimination against gay men and lesbians in the U. S. military, but it failed to halt discharges based solely on sexual orientation.

social sciences >> Endean, Steve

Steve Endean, one of the most important glbtq activists of the post-Stonewall era, stirred controversy within and outside gay politics in his conviction that "mainstreaming" the movement was the way for glbtq Americans to achieve equality.

social sciences >> Frank, Barney

Openly gay U. S. congressman Barney Frank has been a leader not only in the cause of gay and lesbian rights but also on issues including fair housing, consumer rights, banking, and immigration.

social sciences >> Gay Activists Alliance

An important organization of the early post-Stonewall era, the Gay Activists Alliance, which flourished from 1969 to 1974, strove to give gay men and lesbians visibility in American politics.

social sciences >> Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)

New England's leading legal organization dedicated to equal justice for glbtq individuals and families, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) provides litigation, advocacy, and educational work in all areas of glbtq civil rights.

social sciences >> Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a watchdog group dedicated to promoting accurate representations of the glbtq community in the media.

social sciences >> Gay Liberation Front

Formed soon after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the short-lived but influential Gay Liberation Front brought a new militancy to the movement that became known as gay liberation.

social sciences >> GetEqual

The direct action group GetEqual has gained attention by its bold action, including civil disobedience, on behalf of equal rights for glbtq people.

social sciences >> Griffin, Chad

Chad Griffin co-founded the American Foundation for Equal Rights to sponsor a legal challenge to Proposition 8; in June 2012, he assumed the helm of the Human Rights Campaign.

arts >> Hudson, Rock

A product of Hollywood's star system, Rock Hudson became an international symbol of heterosexuality, wearing a mask until it was savagely ripped off when he was diagnosed with AIDS.

social sciences >> Human Rights Campaign (HRC)

The largest glbtq political organization in the United States, the Human Rights Campaign has emerged as the leading national organization representing glbtq concerns.

social sciences >> Kameny, Frank

One of the founding fathers of the American gay rights movement, Frank Kameny helped radicalize the homophile movement, preparing the way for the mass movement for equality initiated by the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

literature >> Kramer, Larry

Controversial playwright, novelist, and essayist Larry Kramer has been a pioneer in the gay political response to AIDS in America.

social sciences >> Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund

The largest glbtq legal advocacy group in the United States, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund has been fighting for the civil rights of queer Americans and people with HIV/AIDS for over three decades.

social sciences >> Manford, Morty

A pioneer in the gay liberation movement, New York activist Morty Manford inspired his parents to help found the organization that became Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians (PFLAG).

social sciences >> Milk, Harvey

Harvey Milk, among the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States, was assassinated in San Francisco's City Hall, making him the American gay liberation movement's most visible martyr.

literature >> Miller, Merle

One of the first mainstream American writers to discuss his homosexuality publicly, Merle Miller is best known for his groundbreaking book On Being Different and for his best-selling presidential biographies.

social sciences >> National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)

The oldest continuously operating national glbtq interest group, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has played a significant role in the development of the glbtq movement for equal rights.

social sciences >> Queer Nation

The short-lived militant group Queer Nation, which emerged in 1990, made a lasting impact on sexual identity politics in the United States.

social sciences >> Radicalesbians

A short-lived but important group, the Radicalesbians was instrumental in bringing visibility to lesbians in the American feminist movement of the early 1970s.

social sciences >> Romer v. Evans

Romer v. Evans (1996) marks the first time in its history that the U. S. Supreme Court recognized lesbians and gay men as worthy and deserving of equal rights.

social sciences >> Stonewall Riots

The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.

social sciences >> Studds, Gerry

Representative Gerry Studs, a Democrat from Massachusetts, was the first member of the United States Congress to acknowledge that he was gay.

social sciences >> Vincenz, Lilli

Veteran activist Lilli Vincenz, who commenced her activism before Stonewall, also collected thousands of documents about the movement for glbtq rights; donated to the Library Congress, they provide scholars an invaluable resource.

social sciences >> Voeller, Bruce

American activist and scientist Bruce Voeller was a leader in both the gay rights movement and the fight against AIDS.


    Bibliography
   

Adam, Barry D. The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement. Rev. ed. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1997.

Blasius, Mark, and Shane Phelan, eds. We Are Everywhere: A Historical Sourcebook of Gay and Lesbian Politics. New York: Routledge, 1997.

Cain, Patricia A. Rainbow Rights: The Role of Lawyers and Courts in the Lesbian and Gay Civil ights Movement. New York: Westview Press, 2000.

Clendinen, Dudley, and Adam Nagourney. Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.

D'Emilio, John, William B. Turner, and Urvashi Vaid, eds. Creating Change: Sexuality, Public Policy, and Civil Rights. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.

Eaklor, Vicki L. Queer America: A GLBT History of the Twentieth Century. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2008.

Endean, Steve. Bringing Lesbian and Gay Rights Into the Mainstream. Vicki L. Eaklor, ed. Binghamton, N. Y.: Haworth Press, 2006.

Human Rights Campaign Website: http://www.hrc.org/

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (LLDEF) Website: http://www.lambdalegal.org/

Marcus, Eric. Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights. New York: Harper Perennial, 2002.

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) Website: http://thetaskforce.org/

Richards, David A. J. The Case for Gay Rights: From Bowers to Lawrence and Beyond. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2005.

Ridinger, Robert. B. Marks, ed. Speaking for Our Lives: Historic Speeches and Rhetoric for Gay and Lesbian Rights (1892-2000). Binghamton, N. Y.: Haworth Press, 2004.

Rimmerman, Craig A. From Identity to Politics: The Lesbian and Gay Movements in the United States. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002.

Vaid, Urvashi. Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay & Lesbian Liberation. New York: Doubleday, 1995.

Williams, Walter L., and Yolanda Retter, eds. Gay and Lesbian Rights in the United States: A Documentary History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2003.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Eaklor, Vicki L.  
    Entry Title: Gay Rights Movement, U. S.  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2008  
    Date Last Updated July 30, 2009  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/gay_rights_movement.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
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    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2008 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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